Garner sues homeowner over chronic yard negligence

kjahner@newsobserver.comSeptember 4, 2013 

The Town of Garner filed a lawsuit against a Raleigh man for neglecting his property at 802 Forest Drive, Garner, requesting nearly $3,000 in fines and nuisance abatement costs among other considerations.

The complaint, filed Aug. 22, alleges that Brett Thomas Merrick consistently allowed overgrown vegetation and accumulated yard waste over the course of at least six years.

The town wants the court to order Merrick to adhere to town ordinances and force him to pay fines and maintenance expenses as well as interest and court costs. The town also requested that the court foreclose on the property in the Western Terrace neighborhood if payment isn’t made.

The town’s rules prohibit grass over 12 inches tall, overgrown vegetation and accumulated yard waste over 8 inches in height, rules the town alleges Merrick violated on “numerous occasions.”

“The plaintiff Town has repeatedly attempted to communicate with the defendant, requesting his abatement of the nuisances so created, to no avail,” the complaint filed by town attorney Bill Anderson alleges. “The defendant has been billed for past nuisance abatement costs and civil penalties... but has paid none of then.”

The complaint said the town removed a pile of limbs in July 2007, cut tall grass in July 2009, September 2010, June 2011, October 2011 and May 2012. The town also said it cut tall weeds and removed a large tree limb constituting a nuisance on July 16, 2012 and did the same July 3 of this year.

The total cost of manpower and equipment to abate the nuisances as prescribed by the town’s ordinances, was $1,526, according to the town.

The town levied fines ranging from $150 to $300 on Merrick for violations on each of the above dates. The civil penalties totaled $1,350.

Merrick bought the property off Aversboro Road less than a half-mile south of U.S. 70 in 1999 for $92,000. He also owns a property at 5008 Deer Garden Court in unincorporated southwestern Raleigh near the Cary border and the Swift Creek neighborhood, according to Wake County property records.

Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @GarnerCleveland

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